3 Keys To Setting New Year’s Resolutions . . . that you will KEEP.

Happy New Year, readers!

This is normally the day when I’d post a podcast, but in light of the holiday, I thought I’d give the microphone a little vacation and talk about New Year’s, one of my favorite days of the year.

Because this is the day when it all starts over.  And no matter whether you had a great year, or a @#$%, this is the day when we set out to make things better than they were.

A clean slate.  A blank canvas.  A bare stage.

So much potential.

And it’s up to us to realize it.

Today is of course the day when millions upon billions of people set New Year’s Resolutions.

And a month from now is when millions upon billions of people will break those Resolutions.

I’m a super resolution maker (are you surprised?), and I spent many years breaking ’em, forgettin’ ’em, and saying, “What the @#$% was I thinking” about ’em.

But about a decade ago, I started using the Three Keys below to help set my resolutions, and, dangit, I started keeping ’em.  And more importantly, they started working!

So, as we ALL start off this year, and since we all want it to be the best year yet, I thought I’d share these keys of mine with you to help you with your resolutions, whether they are theatrically-related or not.

Here’s how I set my resolutions:

1. Make them “The Two As.”

All of your resolutions should be follow the rules of the Two As. They should be “Ambitious but Achievable.” Stretch yourself, but make sure your goal is something you can accomplish.

I once set a resolution for myself to start and produce a workshop, write a screenplay and start a new website in 90 days . . . while working two jobs that took up about 60 hours a week.

Guess what? I failed. And felt pretty bad about it.

Set a resolution that will challenge you but that isn’t impossible. If you just finished a play, don’t set a resolution to “Get it to Broadway.” Maybe set one to have a reading or a showcase production in the next 12 months.

If you just graduated from college and got your first job, don’t say, “I will make a million dollars this year.” Push yourself, yes, but make it something that is possible.

Because falling short of a goal or breaking a resolution can actually cause you to regress on your journey towards success.

2. Make them specific.

Your resolutions should be as specific as possible. The more concrete and clear they are, the easier they are to follow. Resolutions are like directions. If someone says, “To get to my house, just go that way . . . for like, oh, I don’t know, a while, and then turn . . . and after then you’ll sort of end up there.” You’ll never get to where you want to go or you will spend hours on a trip that should have taken minutes.

But if someone says, “Drive three miles, take a left for 2 miles. Turn left at the stop sign then your first right and I’m the red house on the left with the balloons out front,” you’ll get there. Efficiently.

So don’t set a resolution to “write more,” or “go to the gym more often.” Set a resolution that says, “I will write three hours a week,” or better, “thirty minutes every day,” or “I will go to the gym twice a week.”

Specificity leads to success.

3. Make yourself Accountable.

Find someone and SHARE your resolutions with that person. Make him/her your Resolution Buddy!  For some reason people often keep their resolutions private . . . but the best way to make sure you stick with them is to make them PUBLIC.  Put ’em on Facebook, Twitter, your refrigerator. Or in our PRO Facebook group!!!

And have periodic check-ins with your buddy. Or get yourself a trainer, coach, Mastermind, teacher . . . someone to make sure you do your homework. It works! I’ve had an Accountability Buddy for about 20 years. And have been a member of Masterminds for over a decade.

These Three Keys have worked for me, and I hope they’ll work for you.  And don’t hesitate to tweak to make them your own.  Everyone’s journey is different.  But if you start with these three steps as a foundation when you set your 2018 Resolutions, I’d bet that you’ll have your best 2018 yet.
(This post was this week’s “Tip of the Week” email that I send to my ProducersPerspectivePRO members every Monday (they said it was ok to share it with you).  Want more like it delivered to your inbox every week?  Click here to find out how.)

WARNING to all underlying rights holders: Look at our history.

Last week, I talked about how we’re in what I call The Independent Theater Era on Broadway (and actually –  the embrace of Once On This Island by audiences and critics that I’m oh so grateful for, further proves the point).

It’s our audience’s current appetite for originality, as well as the history of our biggest hits, that have me a bit perplexed as of late when it comes to the demands I’m seeing from some underlying rights holders who have been approached about a musical adaptation of their work.

Let me back up.

In case you’ve never heard that term before, an “Underlying Rights Holder” is anyone who is in control of a property that is being adapted for (in our world) a theatrical treatment.  For example, the author of a novel, a movie company, the controller of a musical catalog, etc.

And when approaching one of these URHs, you cut deals for dollars, approvals, billing, etc.

Now, of course, the URH is in complete control and can, and should, ask for whatever he/she/it wants, especially if they could care less about a musical or play ever being made (Negotiating Tip! The best negotiators are the ones who don’t give a @#$% if the deal happens or not).

But if they do want a deal to happen, then they should take another look at the requests they’re making.

Because just look at some of the biggest hits of the last few years:

Dear Evan Hansen – based on an original story

Come From Away – based on history and interviews

Hamilton – yes, they did base this on a book, but there is an argument to be made that they didn’t have to . . . it’s a treatment of historical facts

And look at the longest running musicals of all time!

I count 50% of the musicals in this category that are either based on public domain material (Phantom, Les Miz) or on other unique source material (A Chorus Line, Disney’s movies – of which the subjects were public domain, and of course, the stage producer is the same as the movie producer, so there aren’t any URH roadblocks).

With a historical 50/50 shot at super-success with original or public domain material, and with the recent trend of what’s hot on Broadway, these URH (or more specifically, their lawyers) should tread lightly when asking for too much control if they want to participate in the current Broadway gold rush.

Because I’ve been hearing Producers grumble lately that adapting something not only costs more, but ties a creative noose around your neck (too many approvals, often from people who have never created a musical before), and it just takes a heck of a lot longer.

And as a result, more and more (including me) are just starting to walk away.


Our 2017 Broadway Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Gifts For . . . You?

Special Saturday Post Y’all!

And it’s for all you folks that are reading this on your mobile device at the Mall.

(Who am I kidding – you’re all shopping online, aren’t you?  I’ve actually made it a goal of mine to not step foot in one actual store this holiday season!)

We’ve done these Broadway Gift Guides every year, but here’s what I’ve discovered from your feedback.

In addition to helping people find gifts for their theatrical-loving loved ones, these lists have been more helpful for theater lovers who need a suggestion list to send to their friends and family!

Cuz let’s face it, if you love Broadway and want to figure out how to get your show or yourself TO Broadway, then you’re tricky to buy for.

So if you’re a Producer, Writer, Actor or just a theater lover, here’s some stuff for your wish list, or if you know someone like this, here are some unique, hard-to-find gifts that will make you the best Santa around.

1. Be A Broadway Star

We’ve always got to start with “Amazon’s Choice” Broadway gift, our best-selling, and the ONLY, Broadway board game on the market, Be A Broadway Star, the board game that puts YOU in the spotlight!

This isn’t your typical board game. This is a Broadway board game! And that means you’ll have lots of chances to show off your stuff along the way, with interactive “make or break” cards that just might have you singing and dancing on your turn!

Get your limited edition copy today! Get it here and play during the holidays!  (For adults, email me for the drinking game version . . . it’s hilarious.)

2.  “How to Succeed in the Arts . . . Or in Anything!

Need a cheap stocking stuffer with practical tips on how to build a career in the arts?  Snag a copy of my book “How to Succeed in the Arts . . . Or in Anything!”

If you’ve imagined being a Producer or a Writer. . .an Actor or a Director. . .or a real estate investor, hedge fund dude, or even a world champion poker player. . . you can do it.  Get my step-by-step guide here.

3.  My Broadway Binder!

Here’s something we originally made as a gift for our Investors, and now we’ve made a version available to you.  What does every true Broadway fan have A TON of?  Programs!  Here’s a place for you to store ’em and show them off to all your friends.   Buy it here.

4.  The Producer’s Perspective PRO

The Producer’s Perspective PRO is the perfect gift for any Writer or Producer. This educational online resource is packed with training courses covering a range of topics all about how to get your show off the ground and on Broadway.  And it’s the ONLY site of it’s kind on the web.  Register here.

5. Once On This Island

If you loved my Spring Awakening directed by Michael Arden, if you love Ahrens and Flaherty, if you love great musical theater period, you’ll love this and so will the theater lover in your life.  Get tickets here.  If you don’t love it, I’ll pick something else on this list and give it to you.

6.  Gettin’ The Band Back Together

I first came up with the idea for Gettin’ The Band Back Together  in 2009!  And it’s finally happening on Broadway this coming summer!  As a special promotion, never been done on Broadway before, I’ve introduced “conference style” pricing, which means you can get tickets until 12/31/17 for only $99.  So if you think you’d want to go later, you’re better off gettin’ ’em as a gift now. Come see what John Rando, The Tony Award-winning director of Urinetown does with my script that The New York Times already called “A feel-good class act! A playful, irreverent, and genuinely funny musical.” Get tickets for only $99 here.

 7.  The Producer’s Perspective Super Conference

Our first conference this past year was such a big hit that we’re doing it again in 2018.  And we’ve already sold a bunch of tickets!  Based on the # we’ve sold already, we’re expecting a sell out this year. If you’re searching for an in depth look at the theatre industry, then The Producer’s Perspective Super Conference is your chance to learn from the very best in the business. Held on November 10th & 11th, 2018 in New York City, it’s the perfect place to learn what you can’t learn anywhere else, from people that have achieved the success we all strive for. Register for the Conference here.

8.  The Broadway Coloring Book

Created by my own Director of Marketing, Monica Hammond (I have such a multi-talented staff), The Broadway Coloring Book is available as an instant download PDF for you to print, color and enjoy right away or gift to friends! This 10 page coloring book features hand-drawn scenes from some classic Broadway shows, including Mamma MiaChicagoCabaretGypsy and more! Color the costumes and sets of Broadway as many times as you like! Download your copy now!

9. “How to Write a Script in 30 Days

Did you know I wrote a second book?  As you know I’m all about setting goals, and deadlines for your goals.  If you’ve got an idea you KNOW will work if you could just get it to paper . . . or if you know someone with an idea that is looking for a little practical help getting it done, this is an under $20 gift to help. Get your copy here.

10.  Daddy Long Legs Cast Recording

Did you catch the Daddy Long Legs live stream or see the Off Broadway production in person? If you did, you’ll know just how special the Original Off Broadway Cast Recording is. Featuring Megan McGinnis and Paul Alexander Nolan, this gorgeous cast recording will make your heart sing. Get it here. You can also listen to Megan McGinnis narrating the story of Daddy Long Legs by clicking here to get the audiobook.

Happy shopping, everyone!

Podcast Episode 138- Kwame Kwei-Armah

From singer to songwriter to actor to award-winning playwright to Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah has done just about everything an artist can do in the theater already.  And, given the accolades already bestowed on him (he’s been produced at the National, and in short order, he’ll assume the reins of the Young Vic in London), he’s done it all at a super high level.

But in my 30-minute podcast with him, I got the feeling that he was just getting started and that there was a helluva lot more he was going to do . . . and that the theater would be better off for it.

Kwame is wrapping up his post as the Artistic Director of Center Stage in Baltimore, where he has had a massive effect on the institution, the staff, and the community . . . but as you’ll hear, as most great leaders do, Kwame focuses on what he learned from his time as one of the few black Artistic Directors in the country, and how it’ll make him a better artist in the future.

Listen in to hear Kwame chat about his experience in Baltimore, his upcoming gig, as well as . . .

  • Why a lack of jobs for him and his actor friends made him pick up a pen and write, even though he had never written a play before.
  • How a mentor helped give him his start . . . and why we ALL need a mentor!
  • Why he doubled down on studying and mastering writing AFTER he had a hit . . . (Most people would sit back and surf on their early success, but not Kwame.)
  • How a political point influences all his writing . . . and then why he hides it.
  • What the @#$% can we ALL do about diversity.

The only thing that really upset me about this podcast . . . is that Kwame is leaving the US to go back to the UK.

We’re going to miss him.

So get him while you can and listen in!

Click here for the link to my podcast with Kwame!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.


Podcast Episode 135 – SpongeBob The Musical Bookwriter, Kyle Jarrow

Kyle Jarrow is the ultimate interdisciplinary writer.

He has written films that have been screened at Sundance.  He has a new TV show on the CW right now.  And this fall he’ll make his Broadway debut as a bookwriter with SpongeBob The Musical.

Pretty cool, right?

Oh, I forgot to mention . . . he also leads the rock band Sky-Pony with his equally as interdisciplinarily-talented wife, Lauren Worsham.

That’s right, folks, from big brand Broadway entertainment to super-hip indie-pop, Kyle writes it all.

That’s why I was so interested in chatting with him . . . because, well, honestly, it’s one thing to write for different mediums, it’s another to achieve success in each one of those mediums.

I wanted to find out what his secret sauce was.

Listen to hear him share the ingredients to that sauce as well as:

  • How he got the job for SpongeBob (a process different than most musicals).
  • What a bookwriter’s job really is, and how that changes with different collaborators.
  • Why he wrote A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, and how that got him into some trouble.
  • How an idea informs what medium you should write it for.
  • Just how the heck he keeps all these projects straight . . . and makes them successful!

We’re going to be reading, hearing and listening to a lot of Kyle’s stuff in the future.  So you might as well start with this podcast.

You’ll be saying, “I heard him when . . . ”

Click here for the link to my podcast with Kyle!

Listen to it on iTunes here. (And if you like the podcast, give it a great review, while you’re there!)

Download it here.